Location: Los Angeles
Astrological Sign: Aquarius
Book that changed your life: The Alchemist
Podcast you can’t stop listening to: Goop
Instagram account you love to follow: @ritualofme
Beauty product (or treatment) that changed your skin: Using a gua sha tool with MARA Beauty Universal Face Oil, and retinol for hormonal breakouts
Bucket list travel destination: Japan
Carina Chaz isn’t your typical beauty founder. “I never was into beauty or hair, and I’m still not really into it,” she says. “I don’t wear makeup. I don’t do anything to my hair other than wash it and brush it right out of the shower. Fragrance has always been pretty much the only thing in beauty I care about.”
That passion for fragrance led her to create DedCool, an impossibly chic fragrance brand with a line of complex, non-toxic, and unisex scents that are at once accessible and edgy. Basically, Chaz is just as her brand’s name suggests: she’s cool af.
What was it like to launch DedCool?
I never was into beauty or hair, and I’m still not really into it. I don’t wear makeup. I don’t do anything to my hair other than wash it and brush it right out of the shower. Fragrance has always been pretty much the only thing in beauty I care about, up until recently. DedCool really started as a passion project. I never had any intention of turning it into a business. Our growth is something I had never really anticipated. It’s pretty crazy. When I started the brand, I wanted to make fragrance for myself and to share with my friends or to share with people around me. I wanted to find a fragrance that I could be proud to wear. Fragrance is so personal and it speaks about who you are as an individual, and how you come off to the world as a part of your aesthetic and your style. Growing up, I was never allowed to wear the traditional fragrances, so I was like, “Okay, it’s up to me to make my own.” So I’ve been making fragrances since I was 13, just for fun. I don’t have any real training; I’m very self-taught, and I think that helps me stand apart from traditional fragrances. I love being that forefront because I’m a young individual and people, I think, appreciate that I have something to say that isn’t necessarily being talked about. Of course DedCool was built on being non-toxic and clean; it wasn’t just something that we started doing because it became a fad. People wanted to see transparency and they want to understand where the products come from.
What was the first product that you launched?
We initially launched with Fragrance 1 and Fragrance 2. We were supposed to be a fragrance company, but at the same time, I didn’t necessarily know how to compete with the Le Labos and Byredos of the world, so I wanted to offer something minimal and attainable. I walked into random stores, cold-called people and said, “Hey, my name is Carina. I’m 22. I started this fragrance brand. It’s all unisex, vegan, and non-toxic, which is something you really don’t see in fragrance, but they’re really beautiful, complicated scents.” I offered to sell it on consignment and a few stores were nice enough to give me the chance, and I would go in on the weekends and introduce it to customers. At that time, I was extremely, extremely shy because I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t go to business school; I went to art school. I didn’t really have an idea of where the path would lead me, but it was pretty cool to see some people’s responses. A few stores gave me the opportunity, and from there, I think it kind of gave me that confidence to really start creating more. I remember one of the stores reached out to me, this was like six months in. I probably had like five stores carrying my brand, if that, and I didn’t even have a working website. They said, “People love this. Maybe make more.” Then I created Fragrance 3, 4, and 5. Three-and-a-half years later, we have 10 fragrances. We have six chapsticks. We just launched our candles and our Milk layering oil. There’s so many things, and with every product that I launch, there has to be intention. Of course with that, it’s either education or sustainability, or just really speaking about what it means to use clean products and switch your regiment to be something a little more conscious.
Where do you find inspiration for your fragrances?
All of the fragrances are made for myself. As I’ve evolved, the fragrances have evolved, but I would never create something that wasn’t personal to me. Everything I create, I have to be 100% proud of and on board with. All of the scents I have worn myself at some point in time.
What fueled your decision to offer only unisex fragrances?
I’ve always been a little bit of an outcast within my friend group, and I’ve always been a little bit more mature. In the seventh grade, all my friends were wearing the Pink Sugar fragrance and I was like, “I can’t.” I hate that scent. It’s fine for whoever was wearing it, but I was like, “I do not want to wear this.”
I had more of a passion for masculine ranges. As I grew older and had a different appreciation for fragrance, I found myself a little bit disappointed by colognes because they were extremely strong, and I could never find something that had a happy medium. I was like, “I want women to be able to smell more masculine if they want. I want men to smell more feminine if they want.” There shouldn’t be a divide, and I know it’s all about consumerism and advertising, but there are so many ways to blend traditional notes that may be more feminine and traditional notes that may be on the more masculine scale to create this beautiful range of scent that’s, I would say, genderless and fluid.